What would a snapshot of our sport look like? As much as we’d prefer it feature two America’s Cup contenders dueling for the sport’s biggest prize, or the crowded starting line of a one-design world championship, sailing at that level represents a tiny portion of the overall pie. More likely this snapshot would involve slower boats and casual, yet keen, sailors. There would be no sponsor logos, and the gear might be a little worse for wear. There’s likely to be a few beer cans lying about the cockpit.
Weeknight “beer can” racing is sailing’s pulse. The competition comes in a variety of flavors, from cutthroat, world-class one-design fleets to the loose joy of countless jib-and-main handicap groups. What is common to us all is how our love of harnessing the wind, of testing our knowledge, skill, and luck, and of the camaraderie of our competitors and our teammates keeps us coming back.
There is no one best weeknight for sailing. But Wednesday does stand out. To get our own snapshot of the sport we picked Aug. 12, 2009, and asked you to tell us about your night of sailing: the good, the bad, the rained-out. We’re happy to report that Wednesday night is alive and thriving.
Here are a few of the sailing scenes that checked in with us last August.
Lake Shore Sail Club, Lake St. Clair, Detroit, Michigan
Rochester Yacht Club, Lake Ontario, Rochester, New York
Highlander Fleet 14, Lake Erie, Cleveland, Ohio
Toms River Yacht Club, Barnegat Bay, Toms River, New Jersey
Corinthian Yacht Club, Puget Sound, Seattle, Washington
Manhattan Yacht Club, Upper Bay, New York, New York
Corinthian Yacht Club, Lake Michigan, Chicago, Illinois
Lake Champlain Yacht Club, Shelbourne, Vermont
Nockamixon Sail Club, Lake Nockamixon, Quakertown, Pennsylvania
Hillsboro Inlet Sailing Club, Lighthouse Point, Florida
California Yacht Club, Marina Del Rey, California
To contibute to this summer’s “One Thursday Night in America,” set for Thursday, July 29, 2010, click here.